Morning Brief

What to watch today: June begins with muted trading on Wall Street

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were relatively flat after the Dow gave up most of a 300-point gain by Tuesday's close. The 30-stock average ended 45 points higher. The first day of June also started out muted for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq as optimism about the economic reopening met lingering angst about inflation. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices jumped 1% on Wednesday to more than $68 per barrel, trading at levels not seen since October 2018. As more and more people are getting out and about in 2021 after months of stay-at-home precautions, U.S. benchmark crude prices have jumped 40% year to date. (Reuters)

* Biden suspends oil leases in Alaska’s Arctic refuge (AP)

On today's economic calendar, the Fed is set to release its Beige Book this afternoon. The latest region-by-region assessment of the U.S. economy is out at 2 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, high prices and low supply are taking some of the heat out of the housing market. Even with rates falling slightly, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today that home loan application volume fell 4% last week. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Shares of AMC Entertainment (AMC) skyrocketed 20% in Wednesday's premarket, one day after a similar gain. AMC wants to connect with its shareholder base, announcing a new way for investors in the movie theater chain to sign up for special benefits such as free popcorn. (CNBC)

AMC revealed Tuesday in a securities filing that it raised $230.5 million in a stock sale to depressed debt firm Mudrick Capital Management. CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin confirmed that Mudrick sold those new AMC shares immediately for a profit. (CNBC)

* AMC's CEO wants to use the meme frenzy as a springboard for growth (CNBC)

Shares of Samsung Publishing, a major shareholder in the producer of "Baby Shark," soared in trading in South Korea trading Wednesday after a tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk about the viral children's song. Musk wrote on Twitter on Tuesday evening: "Baby Shark crushes all! More views than humans." (CNBC)

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the SEC admonished Musk last spring for allegedly violating terms of a settlement agreement. The financial regulators were incensed by Musk tweets about Tesla's stock price being too high and those about solar rooftop production numbers.

* Tesla to buy more than $1 billion of Australian battery minerals a year (Reuters)

Dogecoin jumped another 28% to 42 cents per unit Wednesday after Coinbase began offering its Pro users the option to trade the cryptocurrency, which started as a joke but has exploded higher this year. Helped by frequent tweets from Musk and other influencers, dogecoin went from trading at just fractions of a penny in January. (CNBC)

The world's largest meat processing company is getting back online after production around the globe was disrupted by a cyberattack just weeks after a similar hack shut down a major U.S. oil pipeline. The White House said that Brazil's JBS notified the U.S. government of a ransomware demand from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. (AP)

* U.S. needs to put more pressure on cyberattack perpetrators, congressman says (CNBC)

China's Vice Premier Liu He and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke Wednesday for the first time since President Joe Biden took office. Both the U.S. and China said the two leaders talked about the economy and cooperation, and "frankly" discussed issues of concern. (CNBC)

* China to hand out $6.2 million in digital currency to Beijing residents as part of trial (CNBC)

Biden on Wednesday is set to meet with the top Senate Republican negotiator on infrastructure as the administration signals time is running out to strike a bipartisan deal on the White House's big investment proposal and top legislative priority. (AP)

* Biden prioritizes US voting rights law as restrictions mount (AP)

The president will hold a White House news conference Wednesday afternoon on the nation's coronavirus response. The address comes as states continue to ramp up vaccinations ahead of the administration's goal of having 70% of U.S. adults receive at least one Covid shot by July 4. (USA Today)

* U.S. begins study testing mix-and-match Covid vaccine booster shots (CNBC)
* Disney Cruise Line to set sail on 2-night Covid test cruise (AP)
* Will the Excelsior Pass, New York's vaccine passport, catch on? (NY Times)
* Moderna partners with Thermo Fisher to scale up Covid vaccine production (Reuters)

Amazon (AMZN) is bringing its Prime Day megasale back to its normal summertime schedule after the company last year postponed the annual event due to the pandemic. The company announced Wednesday that this year's Prime Day will take place on June 21 and 22. (CNBC)

* Amazon backs federal bill to legalize marijuana, adjusts drug testing policy (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Online crafts marketplace Etsy (ETSY) announced a deal to buy fashion resale company Depop for nearly $1.63 billion. London-based Depop will continue to operate as a separate marketplace after the deal is completed. Etsy rose 1% in the premarket.

Zoom Video (ZM) came in 33 cents a share ahead of estimates, with quarterly earnings of $1.33 per share. The video communications platform company's revenue beat analysts' forecasts as well, and the company gave upbeat guidance even as more people return to offices. Zoom shares gained 2.4% in the premarket.

Lands' End (LE) reported an unexpected profit of 8 cents per share, compared to a consensus forecast for a 29 cents per share quarterly loss. Revenue also exceeded estimates, helped by a jump in digital sales. Lands' End surged 6.6% in premarket trading.

Ambarella (AMBA) beat estimates by 6 cents a share, with quarterly profit of 23 cents per share. The maker of video chips and components also saw its revenue beat Street projections, boosted by strong growth in the company's automotive business. It also gave an upbeat outlook. Ambarella rallied 4.9% in the premarket.

Advance Auto Parts (AAP) earned $3.34 per share for its latest quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $3.08 a share. Revenue came in above estimates as well. Comparable-store sales increased 24.7%, slightly better than the 23% consensus estimate. Advance Auto noted sales strength from both do-it-yourself and professional customers.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) reported a quarterly profit of 46 cents per share, beating estimates by 4 cents a share. Revenue also topped Wall Street forecasts. The enterprise computing company posted its first year-over-year revenue growth since 2018, however it also reported a sequential decline in hardware profit margins. Its shares fell 1.8% in premarket trading.

Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) has begun construction at a new chip plant in Arizona, according to Chief Executive Officer C.C. Wei. He said the planned factory remains on track to begin chip production in 2024.

Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) raised its full-year financial outlook, as it expects the pandemic-related boost in sales of lawn and garden products to continue even as the pandemic recedes. Scotts now expects full-year sales growth of 17% to 19%, compared to a prior estimate of 8% to 12%. Scotts shares added 1% in premarket action.